Chondroitin Sulfate

Overview

Chondroitin sulfate (CS) is found naturally in the body and is one of the critical compounds in connective tissue which are responsible for building and supporting the substance of cartilage found in joints and elsewhere. CS is also found in the walls of blood vessels. Because CS attracts water, it is an important factor in keeping cartilage fluid and elastic; these are important features of healthy joints. With aging, the water content of cartilage decreases, causing problems in joint mobility. Acute traumatic injury, arthritis, malnutrition, and other conditions can also damage cartilage. CS is a nutritional supplement that provides support for strong, healthy cartilage and joints.

CS is a glycosaminoglycan, which plays a role in the physiology of joint cartilage. Glycosaminoglycans are generally able to inhibit enzymes present in the synovial fluid, which may damage or inflame joint cartilage (elastase, hyaluronidase). CS's role in halting or reversing joint degeneration appears to be due to its ability to act as a substrate for, and to stimulate the synthesis of glycosaminoglycans and hyaluronic acid.

CS has been reported to act synergistically with glucosamine and galactosamine (1) though studies are not conclusive.

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

200-2,000mg daily.

Most Common Dosage

600mg, 3 times a day, with meals.

For maintenance: 300mg, 2 to 3 times per day, with meals.

Dosage Forms

Tablets, capsules, and nasal spray.

Adult RDI

None established

Adult ODA

None established

RDA

  • : None established

Active Forms

Chondroitin sulfate (CS), as chondroitin-4-sulphate and chondroitin-6-sulphate, found naturally combined with Type II collagen.

Absorption

Absorption is from the gastrointestinal tract.

Toxicities & Precautions

General

There is no known toxicity associated with chondroitin sulfate.

Functions in the Body

Cartilage

Repair and maintenance of cartilage/connective tissue.

Anti-inflammatory

Inhibits enzymes that damage the joint. (2)

Clinical Applications

Osteoarthritis

Chondrotin sulphate has been shown to reduce symtoms of OA over an extended period of use. (3) , (4) ,, (5) Chondroitin has also shown positive results when used in combination with glucosamine. (6)

Sports Injury

Research in animals suggests that CS supplementation may be useful in the healing of joint injuries in athletes. (7)

Snoring

Results of a small placebo-controlled pilot study on snoring using chondroitin sulfate as a nasal spray were encouraging. 7 individuals were evaluated during sleep and the time spent snoring was reduced by a statistically significant percentage. (8)

Symptoms and Causes of Deficiency

Since humans can synthesize CS, there is no deficiency condition directly associated with it. However, endogenous production of CS tends to decrease with age. (9)

Dietary Sources

There is no dietary source. As a supplement, it is manufactured from shark, porcine, and bovine cartilage.

References

  1. Kim JJ, Howard H. Effects of D-Glucosamine Concentration on the Kinetics of Mucopolysaccharide Biosynthesis in Cultured Chick Embryo Vertebral Cartilage. J Biol Chem. May1974;249(10):3091-97.
  2. View Abstract: Rovetta G, Monteforte P, Molfetta G, Balestra V. A two-year study of chondroitin sulfate in erosive osteoarthritis of the hands: behavior of erosions, osteophytes, pain and hand dysfunction. Drugs Exp Clin Res. 2004;30(1):11-6.
  3. View Abstract: Morelli V. Alternative therapies for traditional disease states: osteoarthritis. Am Fam Physician. 2003 Jan 15;67(2):339-44.
  4. View Abstract: Morreale P. Comparison of the antiinflammatory efficacy of chondroitin sulfate and diclofenac sodium in patients with knee osteoarthritis. J Rheumatol. 1996 Aug;23(8):1385-91.
  5. View Abstract: Uebelhart D. Effects of oral chondroitin sulfate on the progression of knee osteoarthritis: a pilot study. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 1998 May;6 Suppl A:39-46.
  6. View Abstract: Reginster JY. Evidence of nutriceutical effectiveness in the treatment of osteoarthritis. Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2000 Dec;2(6):472-7.
  7. View Abstract: Uebelhart D, et al. Protective Effect of Exogenous Chondroitin 4,6-sulfate in the Acute Degradation of Articular Cartilage in the Rabbit. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. May1998;6(Suppl A):6-13.
  8. Lenclud C, et al. Effects of Chondroitin Sulfate on Snoring Characteristics: A Pilot Study. Current Therapeutic Research. 1998;59(4):234-43.
  9. View Abstract: Hickery MS, Bayliss MT, Dudhia J, Lewthwaite JC, Edwards JC, Pitsillides AA. Age-related changes in the response of human articular cartilage to IL-1alpha and transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta): chondrocytes exhibit a diminished sensitivity to TGF-beta. Biol Chem. Dec2003;278(52):53063-71.